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St. Joseph Seminary and Newman Theological College

The Opportunity

When city plans revealed that St. Joseph Seminary and Newman Theological College, located on St. Albert Trail, were in the proposed path of a new six lane highway, the Catholic Archdiocese of Edmonton decided it was time to relocate. The Archdiocese of Edmonton sold their land to the province of Alberta and began negotiations to acquire a plot adjacent to the North Saskatchewan River.


The Goal

As part of the Green Seminary Initiative, the Archdiocese of Edmonton wanted to design a new two-building campus that would not only follow LEED® regulations, but also offer an aesthetically pleasing exterior. These buildings would tie into the archdiocese' five-year evangelization initiative "Nothing More Beautiful".


The Lafarge Solution

In a collaboration that would last the better part of a year, Lafarge teamed up with Dawson Wallace Construction Ltd., and DIALOG to design a facility that would meet the Archdiocese of Edmonton's requirements for sustainability and aesthetics. The most dramatic feature of the new facility's design is the 11m white concrete wall that cradles the chapel. Consisting of 340m3 of White Agilia® Architectural concrete, the chapel wall is a daring focal point for the entire facility.


"The citizens of the city will see this on a daily basis, and what they'll see is a building of great beauty."- Archbishop Richard W. Smith


Sustainability and Aesthetics

St. Joseph Seminary combines both sustainability and aesthetics. The concrete used for the project was produced exclusively at Lafarge's Winterburn Plant located in Edmonton, lowering the environmental impact and cost of transport. The vibrant white of the concrete used for the chapel wall is not only pleasing to the eye, but will also help lower the energy costs of the facility as it operates. This is because lighter colors reflect more light and heat as they have a higher albedo and SRI value. This effect is even more pronounced when applied to roofing and pavements.


 "We were all intrigued as we watched the days of form construction leading up to that massive concrete pour for the chapel in the new St. Joseph Seminary. For some, there were questions about how concrete could possibly be beautiful enough for such an application, but any doubt washes away the moment you step into the curving embrace of the finished space." - Lorraine Turchansky, Director of Communications and Public Relations, Catholic Archdiocese of Edmonton


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